Sculpture Journal

Yin Xiuzhen’s fabric cavities: fabricating ‘strange encounters’

Sculpture Journal (2014), 23, (3), 393–402.

Abstract

This article considers a series of fabric cavities made by Chinese sculptor Yin Xiuzhen between 2008 and 2009. By adopting the vernacular metaphor of clothing as the ‘second skin’, Yin constructs soft, semi-abstract evocations of oversized human body parts from hundreds of items of washed, second-hand clothes, provoking physical, bodily encounters between viewers and her sculptural objects. This article draws on Sara Ahmed’s postcolonial idea of ‘strange encounters’, which discusses the contemporary experience of encountering foreign places and communities in bodily terms via ‘economies of touch’. In consideration of Yin’s own experience of travel and exchange as an international artist, this article examines how these fabric cavities provide a means to imagine the subject’s encounter with other bodies in an unprecedentedly mobile and globalized world; and how Yin, through her artworks, explores the formation of the individual subject and the human community by addressing issues of corporeal movement and tactility.

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Author details

Sheng, Kuang Vivian